There are certain things, certain ideas, that are just true. This was the case for Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers of the United States of America (Jefferson maintained they were self-evident). And it is true for small group ministry.
With over three decades of small group ministry experience, I have found certain truths to be self-evident. In the words of Captain Jack Ross in a Few Good Men, “These are the facts, and they are undisputed.”
5 small group ministry truths that I hold to be self-evident:
- “A small group provides the optimal environment for the life-change Jesus intends for every believer.” Circles, not rows. A classroom environment is good for information, but the wrong model for authentic transformation. The power of a group, not one-on-one. So much is gained when exposed to a variety of gifts. See also, Groups of All Kinds and the Essential Ingredients for Life-Change.
- “Unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again.” Time really is of the essence. Next fall or even next season is never soon enough for some. There is always a window closing on some unconnected people. Therefore, postponing connection opportunities until leaders are identified, vetted and trained is a dangerous prerequisite. See also, What’s Your Urgency Level for Connecting Unconnected People?
- “Joining a group in a stranger’s living room is the second scariest move (preceded only by coming to church for the first time).” An awareness of and empathy for unconnected people is essential if you want to build a thriving small group ministry. What the usual suspects want or can tolerate is far from the point. Appreciation for the point of view of unconnected people (i.e., what they are interested in and afraid of) is essential. See also, The Second Greatest Fear of Unconnected People.
- “Whatever you want to happen at the member level will have to happen to the leader first.” No matter where you set the leader bar, you must understand that the member experience is absolutely determined by the leader’s steadfast pursuit of full devotion. That said, it follows that very few adults are self-motivated. Almost all adults need a mentor.coach who can say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Therefore, coaching is an essential ingredient for life-change. See also, Life-Change at the Member Level.
- Your senior pastor as small group champion is essential in building a thriving small group ministry. If there ever was an idea birthed in fantasy, it was that ordinary people would pursue something the most influential person is not modeling and championing. See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #1: A Doubtful or Conflicted Senior Pastor.
These are 5 of the small group ministry truths I hold to be self-evident. Are there more? No doubt. Still, I believe if you want to build a thriving small group ministry you will embrace these truths as well.
What do you think? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.